Tag Archives: grilling

A Hawaiian Plate Lunch That Goes Beyond Standard BBQ Fare​

A Hawaiian plate lunch is regularly based around a rich protein, mayo-based salad, rice and pickled and/or fresh vegetables. It’s the surrounding countries that have influenced the classic plate lunch for something that is both familiar and truly unique to residents and visitors, echoing Hawaii’s diverse population.

The variations of the key components are as widespread as they are delicious. In this version, the meal is made with a mayo-based macaroni salad, shoyu chicken, pickled cabbage (or coleslaw) and sticky rice. But don’t be tied to what you see here. Try the plate lunch concept with pulled pork, teriyaki beef, fried spam, beef curry, or soft-set eggs. You can even add more than one protein on a plate if that’s what appeals to you. Mayo-based potato salad can replace macaroni salad, and short-grain brown rice or black rice can replace white rice. Kimchi can stand in for coleslaw or pickled vegetables, and so on. Make the Hawaiian lunch your own, and have guests customize their plate at your next BBQ – or luau! 

Hawaiian Plate Lunch with Shoyu Chicken and Macaroni Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Shoyu Chicken
1 cup water
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, sliced
1 red Thai chili, sliced
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp cornstarch  

Macaroni Salad
8 oz elbow macaroni
Salt
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp pickle juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 dill or sweet pickles, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 Tbsp finely diced sweet onion
½ tsp granulated sugar
Ground black pepper, to taste

For Serving
Vinaigrette coleslaw, pickled cabbage or pickled vegetables (kimchi, pickled daikon, etc.)
Cooked sticky rice, warm
Fresh herbs or microgreens

Directions:

Shoyu Chicken
1. In a large high-sided skillet, combine water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, honey, garlic, ginger and chili. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add chicken in a single layer, submerging in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender. 

2. Transfer chicken only to a foil-lined baking sheet and position oven rack in the top third. Preheat broiler to medium-high. For the sauce, remove large chunks of ginger and garlic. Transfer a spoonful or two of sauce to a small bowl and whisk in cornstarch. Bring sauce to a boil, then, whisking constantly, add the cornstarch mixture and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute to thicken. Keep warm.

3. Broil the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes, keeping an eye on it if your broiler runs hot, until burnished on the outside. Transfer chicken back into the thickened sauce and keep warm until ready to serve.

Macaroni Salad
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Allow to drain very well.

2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, add cooked and drained macaroni, and mix to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Assembly
To build your plate, add a mound of sticky rice, scoop of macaroni salad, portion of coleslaw or pickled vegetables and chicken thighs. Garnish with herbs or microgreens, and dig in!

For more Hawaiian dish inspiration, check out these 10 tasty places to eat poke in Canada, or whip up Lynn Crawford’s Hawaiian fish tacos and Ree Drummond’s grilled pineapple burger – both summer staples, as far as we’re concerned!

Big Food Bucket List Burgers

The Best Burgers: John Catucci’s Picks for 2019

With a job that takes him to some of the best spots and hidden gem restaurants across North America in search of crave-worthy dishes, John Catucci knows what it takes for a burger to be great.

In the first season of Big Food Bucket List, he gets to explore fresh and unusual takes — from a sweet and savoury version using a classic Chinese snack to a place that glazes their bacon strips with yellow mustard — to more standard versions of the beloved hamburger.

The only thing Catucci’s favourite burgers have in common? They all feature a beef patty (or several) on some sort of bun. Beyond that, only the chef’s creativity is the limit — even if it’s a version that honours the burger in its most classic form.

At Hamilton’s Hambrgr, the burger patties are made from a mix of chuck and inside round beef cuts, giving them a lot of juice and flavour. That signature mix is formed into a ball before it gets smashed against the sizzling hot flat-top grill, causing a Maillard reaction — similar to caramelization — that creates a golden crust. Those patties are paired with slices of bacon slathered with standard yellow mustard before they’re grilled on the flat top — adding an extra level of tang to the meaty #Hamont creation.

Hamont Burger Hamburgr

Get the recipe for The #HAMONT Burger

Burgers cooked on a flat top, especially with processed cheese, have a flavour that just can’t be recreated, says Catucci. “There’s something about that thin, flat, smashed Maillard effect… and the processed cheese that works so perfectly. It’s everything you want in a burger,” says Catucci. But, for nostalgia’s sake, Catucci likes a good charbroiled version. “It reminds me of the burger place my parents would take me to as a kid. That’s the flavour of childhood.”

Related: Big Food Bucket List Restaurant Locator

Hodad’s in San Diego comes by their relatively classic take on a burger honestly. Now owned by the third generation of the same family, this spot has been dishing up burgers for decades. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t done some tinkering. Forget slices of bacon, Hodad’s creates a patty from the salty pork to slide between their smashed beef patties — however many you’d like. “It’s a delicious mess,” says Catucci. “Your shirt is going to be ruined, but you’re going to be happy.”

Hodad's Burger
Hodad’s Double Bacon Cheeseburger

When it comes to burger toppings, Catucci goes for the standards: lettuce, tomato, mustard and relish. But he appreciates a burger that goes off the beaten path for condiments. There is no rivalry between classic and inventive for the Bucket List host — all burgers are welcome.

That’s one of the reasons why Catucci likes what Patois in Toronto is doing. At this spot, known for bringing foods and flavours from different cultures together, the burger veers from any classic version. First, there’s no ordinary mayo spread on their signature Chinese Pineapple Bun Burger, it’s oyster mayo. And the smashed patty is topped with not just lettuce and tomato, but a handful of smoky potato sticks for salty crunch. What really sets this burger apart, though, is a sweet Chinese pineapple bun takes the place of a regular version, creating a salty-sweet concoction. “It almost tastes like steak,” says Catucci. “It’s unlike any other burger I’ve had.”

Patois Chinese Bun Burger

Get the recipe for Patois’ Chinese Pineapple Bun Burger

Meanwhile, at Saltie Girl in Boston, MA, traditional bacon is replaced with a slab of golden-crusted pork belly for their namesake burger, which also eschews American cheese for gruyere and gets a spicy kick from their ‘Angry Sauce’ spiked with sriracha. No smashing here, the fist-sized patty is cooked in cast iron to get a nice crust and the whole thing is capped off with deep-fried chunks of lobster.

Get the recipe for Saltie Girl Burger

It’s juicy patty and size leaves Catucci needing more than one napkin. “It’s a complete mess of a burger, but that’s part of what makes it a bucket list, he says.”

While the burgers on this round of Big Food Bucket List are generally beef based, Catucci says he’s enjoyed several veggie or vegan burgers in his travels and he hopes to see even more in the near future as restaurants expand their offerings. “It’s amazing what you can do (with veggie burgers),” he says, noting there is still an appetite for vegetable versions that echo of their meaty counterparts. (The Beyond Meat version, for example, is making serious inroads.) “I’m hoping if there’s another season, I’ll get to eat more of those, for sure.”

Watch Big Food Bucket List Fridays at 9 PM and 9:30 PM ET.

How to Grill the Perfect Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken

Piri piri is a fiery, bright orange hot sauce with roots in Portugal, Angola and Mozambique. You can buy the bottled stuff at most grocery stores, but the homemade version is world’s apart. You can slather it on just about anything, but there’s no better pairing than chicken. There are many variations of piri piri chicken, but we’ve based this one on the dishes found in Canada’s many Little Portugals. To ensure the chicken cooks evenly, we’ve used a technique called spatchcocking (also referred to as butterflying). It may seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually quite simple, you just need a good pair of kitchen shears.

Piri Piri Spatchcock Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1 500-ml jar roasted red peppers, drained
5 to 6 Thai chilis, stems removed
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil, divided
1.5-kg whole chicken, at room temperature
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
1. In the top of a blender, whirl peppers with chilis, garlic, oregano and salt until smooth. Scrape into a small saucepan and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to cook out any raw flavours, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes (do not skip this step, as it can be dangerous to blend hot liquids). Return mixture to blender. Add lemon juice and whirl on low to combine. With the motor still running, carefully remove the blender lid and slowly stream in oil. Scrape into a liquid measuring cup, you should have about 2 1/2 cups. Reserve 1/2 cup for basting chicken.

2. Meanwhile, oil the grill, then preheat to medium-high.

3. Position chicken breast side-down on a clean cutting board. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along either side of the spine to remove the backbone. Flip chicken over and spread legs apart. Gently but firmly push down on the breastbone until you hear the wishbone snap. Tuck wings behind the breast, then transfer chicken to a baking tray. Pat dry with paper towel. Brush with remaining 1 Tbsp oil, then sprinkle with 1 salt, smoked paprika and pepper.

4. Place chicken skin-side down on grill. Lower heat to medium and cook, with lid closed, until lightly charred, about 10 minutes. Brush with reserved piri piri sauce, then carefully flip chicken. Continue to cook, brushing with sauce every 10 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F, about 40 minutes.

5. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carve away legs and place on a clean cutting board. Find the joint connecting the thigh and drumstick and slice between it. Repeat with other leg. Remove breasts and cut in half width-wise. Remove wings. Transfer to a platter, and serve with remaining piri piri sauce.

Kitchen Tip: Every barbecue performs differently, so adjust heat levels to maintain a temperature between 300°F and 350°F. Keep a close eye on your chicken to avoid flare-ups!

Looking for more barbecue inspiration? We’ve rounded up 25 Quick and Easy Barbecue Dinner Recipes, plus 45 Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes.

Nutritionists Reveal 10 Surprising Ways to Reduce Carcinogens When You Grill

Grilling on the BBQ is a summertime must. Who doesn’t love a juicy kebab or burger that’s fresh off the grill? While grilling adds incredible flavour and is an easy cooking method, studies have shown that it may increase the risk of cancer. Here’s how: when meat that’s rich in muscle (think: burgers and steaks) is grilled or pan-fried above 300°F or is hit by an open flame, it forms heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These chemicals may mutate DNA, leading to possible cancer risk. While getting that great char on your burger may add flavour, it also adds possible carcinogens into your meal, which definitely puts a damper on summertime grilling; but, fear not, because we have must-know tips for grilling safely this BBQ season!



Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Grilled Salmon Steak With Hoisin BBQ Sauce

1. Marinade, Marinade, Marinade

Several studies have found that marinating meat before grilling greatly decreases its carcinogenicity. For example, marinating chicken in a combination of cider vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and even red wine significantly reduced the HCAs in grilled chicken. Marinating pork in beer resulted in the same significant reduction in HCAs. So, marinate your meat before grilling, but minimize the sugars and oils, which can actually increase HCAs and PAHs. If you’re marinade is laden with sugars and oils, reserve it for the end of the grilling period.

2. Rosemary is Your Friend

That aromatic, woodsy spice may be your new best friend when it comes to grilling. Studies have found that the compounds in rosemary, known as rosmarinic acid, carnosol and carnosic acid, can block HCAs from forming during grilling. You can use rosemary dried or fresh in marinades, or simply rub the extract on the surface of your meat before grilling to reap the benefits. Other studies found that combining antioxidant-rich herbs (like oregano, thyme, basil, mint and parsley) together in marinades were also effective at reducing HCAs.

3. Pass the Pepper, Please

You may want to add more than a pinch of pepper when it comes to grilling your favourite meat this summer. A study found that mixing 1 gram of pepper with 100 grams of ground beef worked well at inhibiting HCAs, but it was unpalatable, so researchers encourage cooks to load up on pepper and other flavourful herbs to reduce HCAs and give it a pleasing taste. Meats only need to be seasoned a few hours before grilling (seasoning for too long can have the opposite effect, as the antioxidants can decompose).

4. Smother in Garlic and Onion

Studies have indicated that adding garlic and onion to meat before grilling showed a strong reduction in HCAs. It’s best when you combine garlic and onion together, as they can target different HCAs and reduce them. Another study found that adding freshly cut onion to a beef patty that’s fried at 445°F for 8 minutes per side greatly inhibited HCAs. The point is, no matter the form (fresh, powdered, granulated) just make sure you add this allium duo to your meats prior to grilling.

5. Clean Your Grill

Before using your BBQ, make sure all of the grates are clean, and if they’re not, get in there with a brush and scrub! When there’s leftover burnt bits on the grates, it’s likely to drip down when the heat turns up, igniting a big flame. When meats are in direct contact with fire, that’s when PAHs form on their surface. A really easy way to reduce PAHs is to thoroughly clean your grill before and after use.

Related: The Correct (And Simple) Way to Clean Your BBQ: A Step-by-Step Guide

6. Go Lean

HCAs and PAHs are most likely to form at incredibly high temperatures, and over longer cooking periods. Choosing leaner cuts, like flank steak, can help reduce the carcinogens because the cook time is quicker, so it’s not exposed to direct heat for that long. If you are using a fattier cut, don’t cook to the point where it’s completely charred or very, very well done. Instead, take it off the BBQ before it gets to that point. You can also slice your meat into smaller pieces so it cooks faster. Stay away from grilling processed meats like sausages and hot dogs that have nitrates, which are precursors to carcinogenic compounds.

7. Go for the Veg (or Fish)

When veggies and fruits are grilled over a flame, HCAs don’t form, mainly because produce doesn’t have the same muscle and protein content that meat does. For this reason, switch up some grilling habits and add lots of colourful veggies to your BBQ menu. You can also take a break from red meat, instead opting for fish and seafood, which cooks much quicker and doesn’t require being on the grill for too long, reducing overall HCA and PAH levels.

Get the recipe for Candied Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprout Skewers With Red Onion (Plus 4 More Tasty Plant-Based Skewers)

8. Flip It Real Good

Studies have found that continuously flipping your meat on the grill can minimize the formation of carcinogens. As you flip, the surface of the meat is moving around, so it won’t get as charred or burned, which helps to reduce both HCAs and PAHs.

9. Layer with Foil

Since many carcinogens are formed when fat drips down and flames flare up, you can always line your grill with foil and puncture little holes for the drippings to glide down. This helps to prevent your meat from being in direct contact with an open flame.



Get the recipe for Foil-Pack Grilled Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Wings

10. Master the Gas

Gas grills are the safest when it comes to summer grilling. You can easily control the temperature and place meat away from the direct flame. Your meat can still cook in the heat of the enclosed BBQ, but it doesn’t necessarily need to come into contact with flames. If there are fiery flare ups, you can keep a spray bottle of water close by to help minimize. You can also pre-cook meats in the oven to limit the time they have on the grill.

Marinating-101-How-to-Flavour-Your-Meat-Fish-and-Vegetables

Marinating 101: How to Flavour Your Meat, Fish and Vegetables

A little pre-planning, a bit of time and some pantry staples can take basic vegetables, fish or meat and transform it all into a tasty meal. And, with marinades pairing particularly well with standard produce and budget-friendly cuts of meat — such as flank steak — it’s also a cost-effective way to cook.

Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions and Warm Tortillas Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/korean-style-marinated-skirt-steak-with-grilled-scallions-and-warm-tortillas/15976/#IOi3whk9gJybCjVE.99
Korean-Style Marinated Skirt Steak with Grilled Scallions and Warm Tortillas

See more: How to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

Marinade Tips

Marinating for grilling season is as simple as mixing together a few ingredients, coating vegetables, tofu or meats and letting it all sit so the flavours can penetrate. If you’ve got five minutes, you have time to make a marinade. Mix it all in a re-sealable bag or a covered dish, put it in the fridge and, with a bit of patience, dinner is just a quick sear, roast or grill away. Since time is essentially one of the main ingredients, marinades are great for those busy days when you don’t have time to hang out in the kitchen

See more: Your Guide to Perfect Grilling Times and Temperatures

Glass baking dishes, food-safe plastic containers and re-sealable bags are your best bets here. You’ll want to make sure all your meat or vegetables are covered with the marinade — or, in a pinch, you can occasionally flip them to make sure they get equal time in the mixture. Baking dishes are great for large, flat, skirt or flank steaks. You’ll want to stay away from metal containers or pottery, though, as they can react with the acidic ingredients in your marinade.

The fridge is your friend when it comes to marinating. It keeps things cool, which will prevent any harmful bacteria from growing. For quick dinners on busy nights, you can also freeze ingredients in a marinade in advance, then let them thaw in the fridge before cooking.

Grilled-Shiitake-and-Tofu-Banh-Mi
Grilled Shiitake and Tofu Banh Mi

Skip store-bought and head to your cupboards for DIY versions that pack a punch of flavour. Most marinades are made up of oil, aromatics — think ginger, garlic, shallots — acids like vinegar or lemon juice, herbs and some salt. You can also find ones with yogurt bases, especially when cooking Indian. Some call for acidic fruits such as kiwi or pineapple, which are great for tenderizing meat.

You’ll want flavours that naturally lend themselves to the ingredient you’re marinating. Lemon, oregano and garlic are great for Greek-inspired chicken dishes, for example. Or go for an Asian-inspired marinade for pork using soy, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Avoid overpowering your meat or vegetables, though. Steak, chicken and tofu can stand up to more robust flavours, but seafood is best with simpler marinades. You still want the fish flavour to shine through.

Grilled-Sea-Bream-with-Herbs-and-Garlic-CroutonsGrilled Sea Bream with Herbs and Garlic Croutons

How Long Should You Marinate For?

The combination of fat, acid and aromatics adds flavour and moisture and turns even tough cuts of meat tender. Letting ingredients sit in a marinade allows it to penetrate the ingredients’ surface for maximum flavour. Of course, the marinade can only go so far, so this works best for thinner cuts of beef, like flank or skirt steak, thinly sliced vegetables or ingredients with a lot of surface area. Cubing thicker cuts like chicken breasts will make your marinade go further with flavour. Taking off chicken skin before marinating will also help the flavours penetrate.

Timing is everything. Marinating is great because you can mix everything up and then walk away, letting it do all the work before you’re ready to cook. But you’ll still need to watch the clock. For seafood and soft vegetables, too much time can ruin dinner. Fish and shrimp only need a little time in a marinade before they’re ready to cook — 30 minutes or so. Too long and the marinade will actually start to break down or ‘cook’ seafood — like in a ceviche. Firm veggies, such as carrots and potatoes, can handle up to a half-hour of time in a marinade, but softer ones, like zucchini, just need a quick dip. Too long and they’ll just get soggy.

There’s more flexibility with chicken, beef and tofu when it comes to time spent marinating. A couple of hours will add flavour, but, for the most part, you can let these ingredients sit in the fridge in a marinade for a day. Prepare in the morning and dinner is quick to make when you get home.


The Pioneer Woman’s Jerk Chicken

See more: How to Cook the Perfect Grilled Chicken Every Time

Get Grilling

Once you’re ready to cook, it’s time to toss the marinade. It might seem wasteful, but re-using a marinade, which could contain dangerous bacteria, is a health concern. It did its job already — you can let it go!

Now your food is flavoured, you’ve tossed the remaining marinade and you’re getting hungry. The last step is to get cooking. Marinated meats, fish and vegetables are great on the grill. Thin beef cuts, cubed chicken or chicken thighs, shrimp, prawns, fish and sliced vegetables need just a few minutes of searing to make them perfect. Thicker cuts will naturally take longer. Don’t forget to use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken or pork is cooked to the proper temperature!

If it’s not grilling weather — though when isn’t it grilling weather in Canada? — you can also sear meats and vegetables on your stove top. Grill pans are great, but any pan will do. Larger portions of meat — whole chickens, pork tenderloins and so on — will do well roasted in the oven, as will sturdier vegetables.

See more: How to Properly Season a Cast Iron Skillet

They’re easy, require no chef skills or unusual ingredients, but marinades make for a delicious meal. Let that idea marinate for a bit and then hit the kitchen!

Your Ultimate Guide to Perfect Grilling Times and Temperatures

Chicken and beef are standard grilling fare, but by no means are they your only options for when you want to fire up the barbecue.

Become a master of all meats — and vegetables — with this guide, learning the secrets to cooking game meats, the right temperatures for safe eating and just what vegetables you should be picking up for a mouth-watering grilled feast (along with some good tools to have on hand). With this guide, you’ll be turning to your grill for every possible meal before you know it.

Tools of the Trade

Just as chefs need good knives and pots, grilling enthusiasts should have some key accessories in their toolbox.

Fire-Masters-tools

Tongs: This is essential in any barbecue enthusiast’s tool kit. Barbecue forks are likely to pierce meat when used to flip it over on the grill, letting all those essential juices pour out.

A Flexible Spatula: If you plan to cook fish, invest in a flexible spatula, which will allow you to gently lift pieces off the grill without them breaking apart.

A Meat Thermometer: The only sure way to ensure your grilled meats are perfectly cooked is to use a thermometer. This simple instant-read tool, which uses a steel probe to determine the temperature in both Fahrenheit and Centigrade, will allow you to check whether your proteins are grilled to perfection in a flash. Or take to the next level with thermometers designed to stay in the food as it cooks — alerting you when your dish is ready.

Grilling Pork

Pork chops are great, but there are more great cuts of meat to explore in the supermarket for grill-ready proteins. Ribs, roasts and tenderloins are all tasty options for your barbecue — not to mention pork products, like sausages. Each of these cuts requires a different approach when you get to your grill.

One of the biggest questions for home cooks and grill enthusiasts is what temperature pork must be cooked to in order to be considered food safe? For many years, the rule was that pork needed to be well done, but now we can cook whole pork cuts to medium (or 145°F / 63°C to 160°F / 71°C) and still meet national health guidelines. That means no more dry, overcooked pork on your plate — something that should definitely have you exploring this type of meat more often. However, ground pork or sausage be cooked thoroughly.

Try: Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo

Pork should be cooked over medium heat but grill times will vary widely depending on what cut you are serving. For all pork cuts, a post-grill rest will give juices a chance to redistribute, making for a tasty and tender dish.

Pork Chops: ¾” thick chops take between 8 to 12 minutes total — flip once about halfway through — while a chop twice that thickness should take anywhere from 22 and 35 minutes.

Pork Tenderloin: A 1- or 11/2-pound tenderloin needs between 20 and 30 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 145°F / 63°C to 160°F / 71°C.

Pork Roast: Whole roasts naturally take longer and cooking times are by weight. For a 2-pound roast, plan on 20 to 26 minutes per pound, while a roast weighing between 3 and 5 pounds takes about 12 to 15 minutes.

Read more: The 36 Best BBQ Pork Recipes

Grilling Lamb

No longer just served for Easter suppers, lamb is ideal for grilling year-round. This meat’s high-fat content keeps it tender and juicy as it cooks. Lamb pairs well with many types of marinades and rubs, so the flavour options are endless.

Fire Masters Lamb Rack

Lamb Chops: These are a great choice for beginners because it is easier to keep them from overcooking.

Boneless Roast and Lamb Legs: These cuts of meat also do well on the grill, even over direct heat.

Racks of Lamb and Lamb Roast: That doesn’t mean you should avoid racks of lamb or roasts, just keep that instant-read meat thermometer close at hand to prevent these cuts from drying out or getting overcooked. Look for 160°F / 71°C for medium doneness and 170°F / 77°C for well done.

Read more: 20 Simple Lamb Recipes for Chops, Roasts, Skewers and More

Grilling Game Meat

For game meat enthusiasts, grilling is a good way to go. The key difference with bison, venison or elk — compared to beef, say — is that these incredibly lean meats need to be monitored closely. It doesn’t take much to go from juicy cuts to cardboard. Cooking them past medium-rare is not advised.

A quick trick that yields the best results is to start the cooking process in the oven, roasting the meats before throwing them on the grill to get those sear marks and that signature grilled flavour. Brining or marinating the meats, wrapping them in bacon or using wet rubs will help keep game meats juicy and flavourful.

Bison: Bison is fairly common these days and can be picked up at many butchers’ as well as some chain grocery stores. For grilling, try tenderloin or striploin steaks. Ground up, will make a fantastic burger. Remove from the grill when meat reaches an internal temperature 120°F / 49°C to 125°F / 52°C for best results.

Fire Masters Game Meat

Venison: Wild venison is gamier than farm-raised deer, which tends to have a rich flavour. You can purchase it at some butcher shops, but phone ahead first to make sure they have what you’re looking for. Your best bet for this incredibly lean meat is to purchase steaks or tenderloin. Like bison, cook venison to an internal temperature of 120°F / 49°C to 125°F / 52°C.

Wild Boar: Wild boar is generally cooked like its domesticated cousin, the pig, and should come off the grill at 145°F / 63°C for a tender cut of meat.

Elk: The cooking approach for elk is the same as venison, but these two meats have very different flavour profiles. Elk is incredibly tender and has a cleaner, almost slightly sweet, flavour. Opt for roasts or steaks and cook to a temperature of 120°F / 49°C to 125°F / 52°C.

Read more: 11 Tips for Grilling Great Game Meat

Grilling Vegetables

When thinking about grilling, most tend to go straight to protein, but vegetables (and fruit!) get great flavour boosts from some flame-kissed time on a hot grill. A little marinating goes a long way and pretty much any veggie is fair game.

Fire Masters vegetables

Read more: Veggie-Forward Grilled Skewers and Kebabs

Asparagus pairs well with grilled meats — a squeeze of lemon over the plate when they’re cooked is a nice addition. Summer standards, such as corn, tomatoes and zucchini are natural additions to a grilled feast. Even salad benefits with a grilling twist. Simply cut lettuce (or radicchio) in half and cook until there’s a slight char to the cut side. Drizzle over dressing and serve as an appetizer or side dish.

Corral vegetables to keep them from falling through the cooking grids. Either of these will keep food on top of the grill where it belongs, plus they make it easy to turn fruit, veggies or delicate foods over. The hinged basket keeps everything in place, so turning items over is as simple as a flip, while you can use the wok just as you would on a stove with a pair of tongs or spatula to toss and mix.

how to grill the perfect steak

How to Grill the Perfect Steak Every Time

When it comes to cooking steak, nothing beats the grill. It’s the combination of that slight char and simple seasoning that pushes us to cook outdoors — even when it isn’t summer grilling season.

If you’re going to brave cold temperatures for winter grilling or the high heat of the hottest months, it is a good idea to know how to make the most of a steak. What cut of meat should you buy? What grill temperature is just right? Does that lid stay open or closed? These sorts of questions are all that stand between you and a delicious, flame-kissed meal. For your perfect barbecued steak dinner, we’ve got you covered with this guide to mastering the grill. Luckily, we also believe practice makes perfect — that means steak should be on the menu all year round.

What Cut Should Make the Cut?

One of the best things about steak is that from the time it hits the grill to the time it lands on the plate isn’t too long – especially for those who prefer their steak rare. Steaks with nice marbling — those striations of white fat — cook up perfectly succulent. That is because fat means flavour. So when you’re looking at the butcher counter, opt for one of these:

Ribeye: Lots of marbling along with larger pockets of fat makes these steaks great for the grill. Preheat the grill with two burners on medium-high, and two that aren’t on at all – a two-zone fire. Sear the steaks for a few minutes per side to get those delightful sear marks, then move them to the “off “ side to finish cooking. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the perfect temperature of 125°F / 50°C. Rest for 10 minutes. The high heat will melt the fat and keep this steak super juicy.

Strip Loin: This cut, sometimes called a New York strip, is leaner than rib eye but still has plenty of beefy flavour. Season simply with salt and pepper, then sear them over direct high heat for 4 to 6 minutes per side. Rest before serving.

T-Bone: A classic cut, this is what we usually picture when we hear the word steak. Kind of like two steaks for the price of one, this cut is named after the T-shaped bone that divides the strip loin and a small portion of tenderloin. Cooking depends on the thickness. For T-Bones less than 1-inch thick, searing for a few minutes per side, then resting is enough. If the steak is over 1-inch thick start it slow, using indirect heat, on a grill set to 325°F / 165°C, until it reaches an internal temperature of 120°F / 148°C, then sear over high heat for a couple minutes per side for grill marks. Rest and serve topped with a knob of butter.

Flank Steak: This long, flat cut of beef is incredibly lean and an exception to the marbling rule. It should be cooked in a flash; too long on the grill can cause the meat to become tough. Think medium-rare, about 4 to 5 minutes per side over direct, high heat. A little help from an overnight marinade before hitting the grill is always a good idea. To serve, let the flank steak rest before slicing against the grain for tender strips of beef – ideal for tacos and sandwiches.

Skirt Steak: Similar to flank, skirt steak needs to be approached the same way. Marinate it before grilling to medium rare, rest and slice.

Filet Mignon: If you’re splurging and want an incredibly tender and thick steak, you can try a filet mignon, a cut of beef tenderloin. With only a little fat, this steak is subtle in flavour, but buttery in texture. It’s easy to overcook, so best for those who prefer their steaks medium or on the rarer side. Grill them using a similar technique to the Ribeye, and keep that meat thermometer handy.

Heat It Up

Cooking steaks is all about searing, so you want to get your grill hot, hot, hot.

Heat to at least 450°F before you put those steaks on to cook. This ensures the meat gets that delicious crust and stays tender on the inside.

When using infrared heat to cook your steak, side burners, reaching the right temperature takes less than a minute. You can go from craving a nice steak to searing in the juices for a restaurant-quality meal in mere minutes.

Open or Closed?

If you’re puzzling over whether your steaks are best grilled with the lid open or not, wonder no more. The simple answer is: keep it open when high-temperature searing.

Closing the lid turns your grill into an oven — great for roasting meats, slowly cooking thicker cuts, and cooking chicken, but not as ideal when searing. A closed grill will start to cook the top of your steak, so you’ll miss that sizzle when you flip it.

An open lid gives you more control and lets you keep an eye on things. After all, there’s nothing worse than an overcooked steak.

Grilling 101

You’ve selected your cuts, heated your grill and are eager to eat. There are just a few steps to follow to make your steak truly great.

Start by generously salting your steak and letting it come to room temperature before grilling. About a half hour is all that’s needed to let the salt do its work. Use kosher or coarse salt will bring out the best flavor. Add a little freshly ground pepper or dehydrated garlic for even more flavour.

For some additional flavour, think of getting smoky. Wood chips, like mesquite or Applewood, enhance beef without much effort. With an integrated wood chip smoker tray — adding that woodsy, smoky flavour is about as easy as turning the grill on.

It’s all about timing, but even the pros can stumble over how long each side of the steak needs to reach the perfect temperature. A good rule of thumb is you need about two to three minutes per side to reach rare for a ¾-inch steak. Four minutes will be close to medium and another minute or two per side for a well-done steak. Your best bet is to take the guesswork out of the equation by using an instant-read meat thermometer.

When flipping the meat, it’s best to use tongs. Barbecue forks will pierce the meat, letting all those delicious juices escape. Finally — and this is the hard part! — let it rest for about 10 minutes before eating. This gives those juices time to redistribute and will keep your steak tender and tasty.

Is It Done?

Cooking times may vary, but steak doneness temperatures are dependable.

For a rare steak, look for an internal temperature of 120ºF / 52°C. Medium-rare is around 135°F / 57°C. Medium steaks will read 140ºF / 60°C to 145ºF / 63°C and Medium-well between 150ºF / 66°C. A steak is well done at 160ºF / 71°C or more.

5 Budget-Friendly Cuts of Beef and How to Cook Them

As grocery prices mount, it’s a bonus to find cheaper alternatives, especially when it comes to meat. One area where you can save big and find some great new favourites is by seeking out inexpensive cuts of beef, a typically higher-priced protein. These new cuts of beef are as delectable and easy to cook as some of your old standbys, but far more affordable. Before you head to the butcher this week, take note of what to ask for and how to cook it with this handy guide.

chuck-steak-in-pan

7-Bone Steak or Chuck Steak

Often thought of as the ground meat in a good burger, chuck steak is akin to a rib steak in its fattiness and makes an excellent, cheaper alternative cut. If prepared correctly, it provides the perfect balance of marbling and highly flavourful meat. Because it contains bones, you’ll also benefit from the richness they impart.

How to Cook: Best marinated to tenderize, this steak yields greatest results when grilled over high temperature just to medium-rare doneness – overcooking will lead to a chewy, dry steak.

Bavette Steak

Also called a flap steak, this cut comes from the bottom of the sirloin. This inexpensive option boasts major flavour and benefits from being marinated and scored as you would a flank steak.

How to Cook: After grilling it should be seared at a high heat for a short time and rested before slicing against the grain. A perfect cut for a steak salad, sandwiches or tacos.

Petite Filet with Wasabi CreamGet the recipe for The Pioneer Woman’s Petite Filet with Wasabi Cream.

Shoulder Tender or Petit Tender

The consequence of being difficult to cut from the animal, the shoulder tender is an underused piece of beef. Similar to filet mignon and pork tenderloin, only more flavourful, it’s a very tender cut of beef weighing about 8 to 12 oz. Like pork tenderloin, it occasionally has a silverskin that can be easily cut away.

How to Cook: Try it seared and finished in the oven, cut into medallions and grilled or cut into strips for a fast stir-fry. It’s best cooked no further than medium to maintain tenderness.

Merlot Steak

Perfect for grilling, broiling and stir-frying, the merlot cut is known for its flavour, but is also a lean steak, making it one that needs proper attention to avoid dryness and toughening.

How to Cook: It’s recommended to cook this cut over high heat for only a few minutes per side, which helps maintain flavour and tenderness. Like the shoulder tender, keep this steak below medium doneness.

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Oyster Steak

The oyster steak’s higher fat content and exposure to air means bigger, beefier taste. It’s called oyster steak because this cut’s interesting fat pattern looks a bit like an oyster shell.

How to Cook: Deeply flavourful, this little 6 oz gem is another steak benefiting from higher temperature for a shorter period of time, about 3 minutes per side.

Get ready for barbecue season with our essential tips for grilling any cut of steak perfectly.

Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs, Two Ways (Skewers and Sliders!)

Heat up your BBQ menu with a little help from these grilled lamb koftas. These juicy kabobs are made with a ton of fresh herbs and a dash of spice, before being threaded on a skewer and grilled. Serve it as I did here with an unbelievably fresh-tasting tabbouleh salad and you’ve got a pretty stunning summer meal. While I’m aware my variation on this salad may get tabbouleh enthusiasts furling their brow, the addition of torn grilled pitas and crunchy baked chickpeas is beyond worth venturing off the path. You can also use the same lamb mixture and shape into mini patties for a take on the ultimate summer favourite — the almighty slider. Smear on a spoonful of hummus, some thinly sliced cucumber for an open-faced version.

Grilled-Lamb-Kofka

Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs

Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 9 skewers or sliders

Ingredients:

1 lbs ground lamb
½ large onion, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp harissa
1 tsp ground cumin
Black pepper

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb with the rest of the ingredients. Form ¼ cup-sized portions into an oval shape and thread onto a metal or soaked bamboo skewer. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

2. Cook on a medium-heat BBQ and grill kofta kabobs until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

Tabbouleh Salad With Baked Chickpeas and Grilled Pita

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup olive oil + extra
1 Tbsp harissa
2 large pieces of pita bread, grilled
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup bulgur
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup mint, chopped
⅓ red onion, minced
¼ cup sliced black olives (optional)
½ cup lemon juice

Related: Healthy Middle Eastern Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse and drain chickpeas and pat dry. Toss with olive oil and harissa and bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring once at halfway point.

2. Brush pita bread with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill on both sides until crispy.

3. Combine bulgur and 1 cup warm water in a bowl and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl along with remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Lamb Kofta Sliders

Lamb-Kofka-Sliders-Mini-Pita

Ingredients:

1 lbs ground lamb
½ large onion, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ Tbsp harissa
1 tsp ground cumin
Black pepper
Mini pitas
½ cup hummus
½ large cucumber, sliced thin

Related: Recipes That Prove Harissa Paste Belongs in All Your Meals

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb with onion, parsley, olive oil, harissa, cumin and black pepper. Form into ⅓ cup-sized patties. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

2. Cook on a medium-heat BBQ and grill lamb kofta sliders until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, brush mini pitas with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill until warmed through.

4. Spread pitas with hummus and top with sliced cucumber and lamb. Garnish with more chopped parsley and a sprinkle of harissa.

Published May 27, 2015, Updated May 29, 2018

chicken-marinade

5 Make-Ahead Chicken Marinades You Can Freeze Now and BBQ Later

One of the very best things about summer eating is the effortless cooking. And a smart way to make summer cooking simple while keeping it interesting is to marinate chicken and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat, just defrost the package of your choice and toss it on the grill. To get you started, we’re giving you 5 unique, quick-to-prepare marinade options for a freezer full of winning chicken dinners. 

How to Marinade and Freeze Chicken for the BBQ

The following marinades are great with chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks and wings. All you need to do is whisk or blend the ingredients listed together, toss them with 1 lb of your favourite chicken directly in an airtight zipper bag, seal and store in the freezer for up to two months. Set in the fridge the night before to defrost and voila: a tasty, weekend-worthy barbecue is possible on even the most hectic weeknight!

Greek Chicken Marinade Recipe

Inspired by fresh Greek flavours, this chicken marinade comes packed with flavour, and is best served with tender veggies, grains or potatoes and a generous sprinkling of crumbled feta.

Whisk to combine ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil with 2 Tbsp each chopped fresh oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon juice, 4 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sesame-Orange Chicken Marinade Recipe

Sweet with a bit of heat is all it takes to make this irresistible, Asian-inspired marinade. Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp orange juice, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 3 cloves minced garlic, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes and ground black pepper to taste.

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Green Goddess Chicken Marinade Recipe

A super-easy, garden herb marinade that brings tons of fresh, summery flavour. In a blender or food processor, blend ½ cup each chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh cilantro leaves (with their tender stems), 4 chopped green onions, ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 cloves garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Sticky BBQ Chicken  Marinade Recipe

So sweet and sticky, you’ll have trouble not licking your fingers! Whisk to combine 3 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp hot sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Honey-Sriracha Chicken Marinade Recipe

The ubiquitous hot pepper sauce strikes again with a homemade chicken marinade made for the BBQ. Stir together 2 Tbsp each Sriracha hot sauce, honey and vegetable oil with 1 tsp garlic powder and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Every BBQ needs an ice-cold beverage, so here are a handful of fruit-filled sangria recipes to take on that role.

How to Grill Any Cut Of Steak Perfectly

As soon as the nice weather begins, Canadians ditch cooking in the kitchen and fire up the barbecue. The aromas and flavours of meat and veggies fresh from the open fire are intoxicating. And, when it comes to steak, nothing beats a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned, juicy cut. But this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to know what to buy at the butcher, how different cuts of steak vary and the best way to cook them.

With the stakes so high (pardon the pun, but these cuts can be expensive!), we’re giving you the ultimate guide to choosing and grilling steak this summer and beyond.

grilled-steak-and-papaya-salad

BBQ Steak Basics

1. Let steak come to room temperature before grilling: About 30 minutes before grilling, take it out of the fridge. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.

2. Get the grill super-hot: You want to get good sear on your steak for the perfect finished crust. Heat your grill to at least 450ºF before cooking.

3. Season with a bit of oil and lots of salt: Brush steaks with a thin layer of high-temperature oil, like grape seed or refined avocado. Then, don’t just sprinkle salt on your steak, season with reckless abandon. A thick slab of meat needs more salt than you think. Use kosher or coarse salt on both sides and apply until you can see it on the surface of the meat.

4. Use a thermometer: Unless you’re a veteran grill master with tons of experience cooking steak, it’s difficult to tell how well cooked the meat is just by touching it. Quit guessing and take the internal temperature with an instant-read of meat thermometer. To avoid burning the exterior if a steak is very thick, remove it from direct heat and finish cooking on indirect heat until it has reached your desired internal temperature.

5. Rest the steak: Let your steak rest for at least 10 minutes on a warm plate before slicing. The meat needs time to recirculate its juices, and that can only be achieved through patience. Once you’ve come this far in cooking the perfect steak, it would be a shame to ruin it! Your steak will not get cold (this is where a warm plate comes in handy). When your time is up, slice against the grain for more tender slices.

Steak Doneness Temperatures

  • Rare: 120ºF to 130ºF
  • Medium Rare: 130ºF to 140ºF
  • Medium: 140ºF to 150ºF
  • Medium Well: 150ºF to 155ºF
  • Well Done: 160ºF +

With the basics mastered, it’s time to discuss some of the common cuts and how they differ.

The Best Cuts of Steak for Grilling

Ribeye (Rib-eye, Rib Eye) Steak: Sometimes called entrecote, it can be purchased with the bone intact or boneless. It’s a tender steak with plenty of delicious fat marbling. This cut has a big, beefy flavour and is supremely juicy. For this reason, ribeye is usually on the pricier side, making it perfect for special occasions.

Flank Steak and Skirt Steak: Both very affordable (though the popularity of flank steak has made it rise in price recently) and tasty steaks, but they require a bit more work than other cuts. Flank steak can be tough and chewy, however, marinating overnight and cooking only to medium-rare can help keep it tender. After marinating, grilling and resting, flank steak must be thinly sliced across the grain to remain tender. Skirt steak should be prepared the same way as flank steak: marinated, grilled to medium-rare, rested and sliced against the grain. Flank and skirt steaks are great for weeknights and entertaining large groups.

New York Strip Steak: This cut is also known as the strip steak, top sirloin, top loin and contre-filet. The meat has a finely-grained texture and rich, beefy flavour. Its medium fat content, decent marbling and tender texture (less so than ribeye, but this cut is also less expensive) make it an ideal steak for barbecuing.

Porterhouse Steak: This steak is also known as the T-bone, a bone-in steak that has two of the most prized cuts of beef in one tidy package. On one side, the tenderloin, and on the other, the ribeye. The tenderloin portion will generally cook a bit faster than the ribeye portion, but the bone helps to keep the meat juicy. The porterhouse is the perfect steak for high-heat barbecues and entertaining to impress.

Now that you’ve nailed barbecued steak 101, it’s time to fire up the grill and dive into a recipe. Grill guru Bobby Flay takes it from here with this summery Grilled Steak and Papaya Salad .

perfect bbq chicken tips

8 Tips for Making the Best Barbecued Chicken Ever

Chicken is one of this most popular items to grill during BBQ season. When done right, it’s juicy and flavourful, but when done wrong, well… you know. Don’t let obvious mistakes come between you and a delicious chicken dinner. Follow the tips below and get perfectly barbecued chicken every time.

Lemon and Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs

Get the recipe for Lemon and Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs

1. Not All Cuts Are Created Equal
Different parts of the chicken cook at different times, making it harder to cook different pieces at once. A good tip to keep in mind is that bone-in chicken cooks slower than boneless and thicker cuts take longer than thin. Whole birds, like summertime favourite, beer can chicken, take the longest. Know your cuts so you can ensure you time it right, and avoid hangry barbecue guests.

2. Don’t Cook Cold Chicken
While it’s important to keep chicken in the fridge for marinating, don’t take it straight from the cold and slap it on the grill. Allow chicken to come to room temperature before you start cooking. This will allow for even cooking throughout.

3. Start With a Good Sear
Searing meat gives beautiful grill marks and adds that mouthwatering barbecue char to chicken. The key to a good sear is dry meat and a hot grill. First, pat the chicken skin with paper towel to take out as much moisture as possible. A super-hot grill allows the chicken to get a good sear and is less likely to stick. If you have thicker cuts, like a bone-in chicken breast, sear on both sides then move to indirect heat until cooked through. Clean and oil the grates before cooking is key to prevent meat sticking and tearing. Chicken is quite delicate. It would be a shame if you lost the beautiful skin to the grill, or tore your meat.

Related: Best BBQ Chicken Marinades

4. Closed for Business
Resist the urge to open the lid over and over to check on your chicken. The barbecue retains heat when the lid is closed and helps cook chicken evenly. The more you open, the more heat will escape.

5. Marinate or Season Ahead
Chicken is like a sponge that absorbs whatever flavours you throw at it. Properly season with salt when the chicken is raw and give it time to absorb the seasoning. Experiment with different marinades and brines. Chicken can be marinated for as little as 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze

6. Get Saucy at the End
Many BBQ sauces have a high sugar content, especially those sweet, sticky ones. If they’re applied to the chicken too early, they’ll burn on the grill. If you’re looking for the sauce to caramelize onto the chicken, apply 10 minutes before cooking is complete. Add more liberally once it has been taken off the grill.

7. Use a Thermometer
It’s difficult to tell when chicken is cooked by looking or touching it. Use a meat thermometer to avoid the guessing game and get the most accurate results. Chicken should reach a temperature of 160°F when taken off the grill and will continue to rise to 165°F off the grill.

8. Let it Rest
If you cut it right away, you’ll lose all those lovely juices and flavours you’ve locked in! Allow grilled chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes after it has been cooked so that the juices can redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in perfectly juicy chicken breast every time.

Your Guide to Grilling Game Meat Like an All-Star

Game on: A spot in the Top Chef Canada: All-Stars finale came down to the competitors knowing their way around wild game and a grill. The grill is easy to master, and eager Canadians cook this way year round. Game meats, on the other hand, are tricky. Unlike beef, pork and poultry, game meats are incredibly lean and, therefore, easy to overcook, which means the difference between a juicy piece of meat and something akin to cardboard are not far apart when it comes to grilling.


Dennis Tay grilling up bison in Episode 9.

Keep a few tricks in mind when throwing these on the grill and you’ll have a winning meal. First, let’s break down the three most common game meats — cooked up on last night’s episode — and some of their best cuts.

Bison, the most common game meat, is easily found in butcher shops and even chain grocery stores these days. In the winter, braised short ribs or slow-cooked roasts are the way to go, but tenderloin and striploin steaks are where it’s at for summer grilling. Of course, the richly flavoured meat also makes a fine burger.

Bison-Steak-Getty
This bison steak looks very similar to a beef steak.

Like beef, bison steaks are great when grilled. Try this recipe for Grilled Bison with a White Currant BBQ Sauce.

Blair-Lebsack-Grilled-Bison
Grilled Bison with White Currant BBQ Sauce

Short ribs aren’t just for slow braising in colder weather. Bobby Flay shows how to grill up some sweet and spicy bison short ribs, complete with a matching barbecue sauce. Get Bobby Flay’s recipe for Spice Rubbed Bison Short Ribs with Orange Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce.

QF0302H_spice-rubbed-grilled-american-bison-short-ribs-with-orange-honey-chipotle-bbq-sauce-recipe
Bobby Flay’s Bison Short Ribs

How about a surf and turf bison burger, topped with crab and a spicy banana pepper jam? Get the You Gotta Eat Here! recipe for the Wild Fennel Bison Burger.

You-Gotta-Eat-Here-Big-Feast-Bison-Burger
Wild Fennel Bison Burger

Venison — meat that comes from deer — is often thought to be quite, well, gamey. Meat from wild deer does tend to be, but that from farm-raised venison, which is what we see in butcher shops, is less so. The flavour can be beef-like, but is generally richer. Incredibly lean, when it comes to grilling, it’s best to stick to steaks or the tenderloin.

Venison-Steak-Getty
This venison steak is extremely lean and has a rich red colour.

Simplicity showcases the meat at its best with this straightforward recipe for a rack of venison. Get Martin Picard’s recipe for Grilled Rack of Deer with Rosemary.

Martin-Picard-Grilled-Rack-of-Deer-Rosemary
Grilled Rack of Deer with Rosemary

Summer isn’t the same without at least one round of burgers on the grill. Switch out the standard beef for venison for this recipe from You Gotta Eat Here!

Boar is similar to its relative the pig, in both flavour and texture. The difference is that the meat tends to be darker in colour and is slightly richer. A larger animal than its pig counterpart, expect bigger cuts. Chops are great for grilling.

Wild-Boar-Chops-Getty
These look like well-sized pork chops but they’re actually wild boar chops.

Elk, although not one of the ingredients the final four chefs were tasked to cook with, it’s also a great game meat. While similar to venison — cooking tips are the same for both — elk has a cleaner, almost slightly sweet, flavour. Its meat is dark red, almost like beef, and very tender. Roasts and steaks are some of the best cuts.

For an elk loin, Top Chef Canada Season 2 winner Carl Heinrich uses the technique of roasting the meat in the oven before transferring to the grill. Get Carl Heinrich’s recipe for Roasted Elk Loin.

Carl-Heinrich-roasted-elk-loin
Carl Heinrich’s Roasted Elk Loin

Because game meats are lean, the main trick for grilling them is not to cook past rare or medium-rare. When cooked past that point, the meat will become dry and chewy — not a Top Chef Canada-worthy result. For venison and bison, that means taking the meat off when it has an internal temperature of 120°F to 125°F; wild boar should be removed from the grill at 145°F.

Starting the meat in the oven with a quick roast, then using the grill to get that signature flavour and markings are a good way to keep the meat from overcooking. As is brining or marinating first, using wet rubs or wrapping game meats in bacon, which will help keep them from drying out.

Looking for more ideas? Learn the rules of the game from our 11 Tips for Grilling Great Game Meat.

Chuck And Danny Discover a Salty Paradise on Salt Spring Island

 All aboard the ferry to Salt Spring Island, as chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles head out to one of Canada’s premier growing destinations, 20 minutes off the coast of British Columbia.

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Brooke Winters, center, with Chefs Danny Smiles and Chuck Hughes

After meeting up with Brooke Winters, chef and owner of BNurtured Farm to Fork Food Trailer, to get the lay of the land, Chuck and Danny fall in love with the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market — in order to sell here, you have to have grown it, made it or raised it yourself — and immediately add it to their list of must-visit destinations in Canada.

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Chuck and Danny enjoying the vibes at the Salt Spring Island Farmers Market.

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Gorgeous vegetables from the Salt Spring Island Farmers Market

The island’s specialty is sea salt, which comes from evaporated sea water. Fleur de sel is made from the prized salt flakes that form on the top of the water during the evaporation process.

The chefs learn some salty language from local expert Philippe Marill, owner of Salt Spring Sea Salt. “As a chef, as a cook, you’re nothing without salt. It boosts the flavours in all your ingredients,” says Chuck. Fellow francophone, Philippe, who hails from Montpellier in southern France, teaches them his method for salting food: holding your hand high, sprinkle the salt, rubbing it between three fingers to crumble the flakes. “Don’t touch it on the plate,” he warns. “Accept the chaos — that’s what you want to create, a little roller coaster of taste and also, emotion.”

Chuck is impressed. “Philippe is deep,” he says.

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Chuck’s salt guru: Philippe Marril, owner of Salt Spring Sea Salt

The salt will be a big theme for the dinner — with five different flavours, including  jalapeno-lime and blackberry, it’ll be a saltapalooza, promises Chuck.

The menu is ambitious, with Philippe’s salt in every dish. To take the edge off of people’s appetites, guests roast salt sprinkled spot prawns over a campfire, while the chefs stay hard at work, packing a salt crust around ling cod (thanks to Chuck’s fishing prowess), and working on the pièce de résistance: lamb three ways. Chuck and Danny are more than up to the task as they prepare rack of lamb with garlic sea salt, lamb loin chops and thinly sliced barbecued lamb for lettuce wraps.

Chuck-and-Dannys-Grilled-Lamb-Chops
Chuck and Danny’s grilled lamb chops with fresh herbs and lemon.

Danny shows how to make his smokey and creamy baba ghanoush.

 

A key component to their DIY lettuce bundles is a unique baba ghanoush, made Chuck and Danny style by placing the  eggplant directly onto the hot coals to pick up the smokey flavour and aroma. The chefs are using a few types of local eggplant, including a Turkish variety, from EcoReality Co-op — an organic permaculture farm in Salt Spring Island’s Fulford Valley — to lend a riot of colours, tastes and textures to the dish. Eggplants are widely varied in terms of bitterness, firmness, thickness of skin and number of seeds, and roasting them on a barbecue is a forgiving cooking method that allows home cooks to try an assortment of shapes and sizes. After roasting, the eggplants are covered with plastic wrap, which allows the steam to soften the flesh, making the eggplant skin easier to separate.

In the RV, Danny blends the eggplant with roasted garlic, tahini, cumin and Salt Spring’s smoked mesquite salt. Home cooks can steal Danny’s secret ingredient — a touch of plain yogurt — for a creamy consistency. “It’s almost like a cheat to add richness to it,” he says. A final drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of more salt to garnish, and the baba ghanoush is ready to pair with the lamb, lettuce and pickled garlic scapes for a sweet and savoury parcel.

Long after the salt celebrations come to a close, Chuck is still consumed with their new discoveries on Salt Spring Island. “I think you were even talking in your sleep about that salt,” teases Danny. “You’re obsessed with salt on this trip — it’s changed your life.”

Find out more about how sea salt is made.

Mark McEwan’s Perfect Techniques for Grilling Vegetables

When it comes to healthy and appetizing barbecues, no one brings the heat quite like celebrity chef and Chopped Canada judge Mark McEwan. Known for cooking with fresh vegetables and plant-based foods, we asked the star for his techniques on grilling veggies the right way.

Asparagus is a popular vegetable around the barbecue. Sure, you could steam or roast it, but nothing beats the flavour of asparagus that’s simply grilled.

“Trim the ends off and marinate it with olive oil and salt and pepper,” says Mark. “Lay it at a 90-degree angle on the grill at a low heat. Then, put a warm vinaigrette on the top.”

One must-have item around the grill is tin foil. “I’ll take my beets out of the garden, scrub them, quarter them and place them down on two sheets of foil paper. I like putting on olive oil, thyme, smashed garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. I seal it with another sheet of foil on top and fold the edges in like a Christmas package,” says Mark. It’s best to leave the foiled beets on  the top rack of the grill for about an hour.

If beets don’t whet your appetite, Mark says you can use this easy technique on carrots, sweet onions or peppers. If you prefer your peppers with some grill marks, Mark has the perfect method  for you.

“I take a whole pepper and rub it with a tiny bit of olive oil. I’ll put it over the hottest part on the barbecue, make it completely black and then I’ll peel the skin off. Once I pull the core off and take the seeds off, I can marinate the peppers which is fabulous,” he says.

Mark’s simple marinade includes water, vinegar, chilies, fresh herbs and a small amount of olive oil. Try any one of our 10 Great Marinades for Grilling Season.

Completely charring a pepper makes removing the skin a lot easier. “It actually cooks the pepper to another dimension where it has a different taste. It you use a marinade, you can leave it in the fridge for a week!”

Looking for more grilling tips? Check out: 12 BBQ Hacks to Make You a Grilling Superstar.

The Best Barbecuing Tips from our Stars

From proper saucing to perfectly grilled veggies, celebrity chefs and Chopped Canada judges share their best barbecue tips so you can throw a fantastic feast in your own backyard.

Roger Mooking on How to Beat the  Heat
“Make sure you understand your heat source well. All fires are not created equal and the environment can be a very dynamic variable when cooking outdoors; wind, humidity, types of wood or charcoal.”


Try our Top 100 Grilling Recipes

Michael Smith on When to Get Saucy
“Always add BBQ sauces last. They’re loaded with sugar that burns if you add too early.”


Eden Grinsphan on Keeping it Clean
“Always clean and oil your grill. The grill should be on the hotter side so your protein doesn’t stick to it. And my party tip would be to always have a cocktail station!”


Try one of these 30 Cocktails to Keep You Cool This Summer

Massimo Capra on Enjoying the Simple Things
“Parties should be kept very simple. Stick with chicken or sausages. I wouldn’t dare make a 16-hour smoked brisket because that takes time. Simplicity is always key!”

Antonio Park on  Rocking Those Veggies
“Think about the vegetables. Everybody thinks about fish, seafood, sausages when they talk about barbecues. Don’t even think about that. Barbecued veggies are amazing! All you have to do is drizzle a bit of oil with salt and pepper and it’s even better if there’s charcoal! You get that smokey flavour that’s so nice.”


Try one of these 20 Vegetable Side Dishes

Steak Salad with Onions and Cilantro Chimichurri

It’s finally grilling season! And what better way to flex your (grilling) guns than with a steak salad. Flank steak is a cheaper cut of meat that grills really well. It’s flavourful and when grilled and sliced right, perfect for a salad.

I’ve come up with this twist on a basic balsamic dressing, adding cilantro chimichurri and piquillo peppers. Spanish piquillo peppers are actually sweet, not spicy. You can find them roasted, either jarred or canned. Chopping and adding them to the vinaigrette gives the dressing a slight sweet and peppery flavour. If you can’t find them, you can substitute with roasted red peppers which are very similar.

This is a staple salad in my household. It’s super easy to prep ahead of time and you can grill the onions and steak just before serving it. Every BBQ needs a salad — and this is the perfect one!

grilled-flank-steak-salad-with-chimchurri-sauce

Grilled Flank Steak and Onion Salad with Cilantro Chimichurri and Piquillo Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serving Size: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Grilled_Steak_Salad-recipe-with-onions-and-chimichurri-dressing

Ingredients:

2 large red onions, 1/2” thick rounds
olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper

1 1/2 lb (680g) flank steak (skirt or hanger are good too)
olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper

4 to 5 cups spinach leaves
3 to 4 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the Piquillo Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons finely chopped piquillo peppers (or roasted red pepper)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

For the Cilantro Chimichurri:
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika (hot or sweet)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Grilled_Steak_Salad--recipe-with-onion-chimichurri

Directions:

For the piquillo pepper balsamic vinaigrette:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chopped piquillo peppers, balsamic vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper.
2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
3. Set aside.

For the cilantro chimichurri:
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. Set aside.

Grill the onions:
1. Heat a grill (or grill pan) to medium direct heat.
2. Drizzle the onions with olive oil and generously season them with salt and fresh black pepper on both sides.
3. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side until nicely charred.

Grill the steak:
1. Heat the grill (or grill pan) on medium-high direct heat.
2. Drizzle the steak with olive oil and generously season with salt and fresh black pepper on both sides.
3. Grill the steak for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or 4 1/2 to 5 minutes for medium. ONLY FLIP THE STEAK ONCE!
4. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Assemble:
1. Toss the spinach and baby arugula with some of the dressing. The quantity for the vinaigrette above makes more than you should dress the salad with! Plate the dressed greens onto a platter.
2. Arrange the grilled onions on top of the greens and scatter the chopped hazelnuts over top.
3. Slice the steak, against the grain, into 1/3” thin strips. The thinner the better. Just be sure you are cutting against the grain of the steak or else it will be too tough to chew.
4. Place the sliced steak over the salad and drizzle with the chimichurri.
5. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette and chimichurri on the side. Enjoy!

100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

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